As winter sets in with a vengeance, many of us will be dreaming of a home in warmer climes. But, for some of us, we don’t want to move overseas full time, either because of work or other commitments like family. However, that doesn’t mean your overseas dream is dead – far from it. In fact, one of the most popular options for expats is a holiday home, where you spend part of the year overseas.
Are holiday homes worth it?
A holiday home is a significant investment, but for many, it’s completely worth it.
Firstly, you’re not reliant on hotels and availability. If, one Friday, the whim comes on you to ‘pop down to France’, well, off you go! In high season where you can pay hundreds for a week away for a family in a mediocre hotel, it can also make financial sense.
Secondly, you could even make a profit. Many homeowners choose to rent out their property while they’re not there themselves. If you don’t fall into the trap of ‘mate’s rates’ all year-round, then you can get an excellent yield in many touristic areas. For example, in parts of the Costa Brava like Figueres, you can get a yield of over 6%.
What are the legalities of buying a holiday home?
In most European countries, British and Irish citizens can purchase property without restriction. In Cyprus, as with any other overseas buyers, you’ll need to apply for permission from the Council of Ministers. It’s nearly always granted.
After Brexit, British citizens may find it more difficult to relocate permanently without work or investment. However, holiday homes won’t be affected. The right to actually own property isn’t controlled by the EU, and the right to stay is covered under short-term visas and other arrangements, as holiday homes are generally only used a few months at a time. In fact, the EU and the UK currently say that both expect a reciprocal, visa-free system for short stays.
Irish citizens will, of course, continue to be able to purchase property with impunity, even if they also hold British citizenship.
What should you look out for in a holiday home?
Many people look for the ‘home of their dreams’ with all bells and whistles, but requirements can be a little different for a holiday home.
In most cases, you’ll want somewhere with minimal maintenance. This could mean choosing a spacious apartment with a large terrace over a house with a complicated-to-maintain garden. Equally, buying on a project such as a Spanish ‘urbanisation’, with communal facilities like swimming pools, gives you a wide range of leisure facilities without being responsible for the maintenance yourself.
What about if you’re renting out your holiday home?
For rentals, remember to furnish ‘for your audience’ as much as for yourself. Extremely personalised décor can be off-putting. Neutral colours, like beige, creams, whites and greys, can be much more appealing. Don’t be worried about adding personal touches here and there, but try to keep it easy to maintain.
A certain level of wear and tear is inevitable with prolonged use by a number of different people. Choose hard-wearing and relatively easily replaceable furniture. You don’t something that, if a suitcase bangs against it, will be irreplaceable!
Consider also accessibility. You might want to install handrails in the bathrooms, or to make sure that everything is easy to reach.
Wherever you choose to buy, you’ll need to protect your money from moving exchange rates: Find out how in the Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency
If you find the home of your dreams but it’s beyond your budget, effective negotiation could make the vital difference. Download the How to Negotiate Abroad Guide.
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